For decades I’ve been asked about the location of the former church that had been on the west side of North Judson, just north of Hwy 10. Several years ago someone – not local – said that they heard satanic rituals were performed there. Of course I’ve also heard the same thing about the Inn, which was located one block over from the train depot on Lane Street. To my knowledge neither story is true.
As background information on me, my family moved from Chicago to NJ in 1961 and we originally lived just outside of town on Sales Barn Road (hands up anyone who remembers the Sales Barn). I was familiar with only three churches.
A year or two before North Judson’s Centennial we moved into town, on that same west side, but I have to admit that I didn’t recall any church in the area. Which is probably because it didn’t fit into my juvenile ideas of what a church should look like (ie: a tall imposing building like the Lutheran or Catholic).
Years later another move brought my family even closer to the area where the mystery church was supposed to be located. Since reading had expanded my knowledge of what churches could look like I did become aware of a house in the general neighborhood that might have been a church at one time. No stained glass windows or tall steeples, but then the Methodist church didn’t have those either. But there was something about it, mainly the front doors, which just seemed to say, “Church.”
So imagine my surprise when, flipping through the North Judson Bicentennial book, I came across a picture which proved that at one time that building HAD been a church. According to the picture the building, located on the corner of Garfield and Cherry, had at once time been the Pilgrim Holiness Church.
Mystery solved! Except to this day I haven’t met anyone who could tell me anything about the Pilgrim Holiness Church. Internet searches don’t turn up much local information. But I did learn that at one time Harve J. Garbison was assistant pastor and Creed Allen was a founder and/or co-founder. And according to Wikipedia, “Pilgrim Holiness Church or ' International Apostolic Holiness Church '[IAHC] is a religious denomination associated with the holiness movement that split from the Methodist Episcopal Church by Martin Wells Knapp in 1897.” “The organization later became the Pilgrim Holiness Church in 1922 which eventually merged with the Wesleyan Methodists in 1968 to form the Wesleyan Church.”
So if you, or a family member, have any memories about this church please sit down with a tape recorder and start talking. We need to preserve as much local history as possible for when North Judson’s Bicentennial comes around.